Philobiblon: Ganesh and his tusk

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ganesh and his tusk

Re-reading yesterday's references to obstacles and magic made me look up above my head to my Ganesh mask (which came from Madras, if I remember correctly).

He has one broken-off tusk, as Ganesh always. The story of why is popular with British Museum visitors.

As I tell it: One day, after his elephant head and body had grown together (that's another story) he was sitting at the feet of a great sage (Vyasa), who started to tell him a story, which turned out to be the Mahabharata, "The Story of the Wars". Ganesh sighed and thought: 'I'm never going to remember all of this; it's much too long.' So he broke off his tusk and used the bloody end to write down the story.

That's why he's the god of writers - should you be needing any inspiration - as well as the "remover of obstacles".

More about Ganesh here and a useful-looking glossary here.

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